It has been far too long since I have written about the Black & Gold. Time has been my enemy with the responsibilities of parenting, a hectic schedule, and a struggling personal economy. Still, my troubles are nothing like the troubles the Steelers have been having. I plan each week to write about the game, but then something happens and I end up drowning my sorrows and my liver in a pool of whiskey. The Steelers faithful and I will moan and complain, cursing individual players from Jeff Reed to Ty Carter to Max Starks. This was not supposed to be how the season should have been playing out.
Inexplicably we are 1-2 in the division and the Bungles, of all teams, are 5-0. With today's loss to Kansas City, all bets are off. This feels like the type of year that the Browns could grab a win and that would be an utter failure on all levels. It boggles the mind. There is no reason this team should not be dominating the division or even the NFL given the schedule this year compared to last year's. It isn't even the fault of one particular player or group of players, special teams blunders notwithstanding.
Ben Roethlisberger has been doing an amazing job. He looked like Ronnie Bass from Remember the Titans, seemingly intangible until the fourth quarter when the weight of four Chiefs defenders finally brought him to the turf. Was it a certain win if Ben had not been hurt? No, but I liked our chances. I still liked them with Batch under center until the quick pitch that ended the game, at least in my heart.
Last week Farrior said that defensive veterans will start playing special teams if they don't start making plays. It was a scolding delivered by the nightly news to the players who allowed another runback for points today. They need to do something drastic. I would even like to see Sepulveda on the kickoffs just because of his tackling ability. Jeff Reed said there was only one missed opportunity for a tackle and that is obviously ridiculous. Although there are 10 other players who need to shoulder the blame.
One player that has long drawn my ire, showed just the kind of hustle that is so sorely lacking on the special teams unit. Had we won the game it would have been in no small part because Mendenhall kept Studebaker from running into the endzone, and that allowed the defense to hold them to only three, sending the game into overtime. Mendenhall is also making an excellent showing this season, allowing us the hope that he will be as good as they thought he would be. It's the hustle of a winner.
Lastly, there is the absence of Troy. It is amazing that one player can make such a difference on the field. When he was first injured my heart was in my throat and I lamented for my favorite player, especially watching his pained expressions during the Bears and first Bengals games. Yet now, I am a little pissed at him. It seems ludicrous to be angry at him for playing without regard to his own well-being, fueled by an even more intense desire to win. However, important as he is to the team, perhaps he needs to tone it down. Or am I just lashing out at the ones I love? Perhaps it's just the whiskey talking.